Battle of the Books

What is Battle of the Books?

Battle of the Books is a fun reading program for students at Herndon Middle School. The purpose is simply to encourage students to read good books and have fun while competing with peers! Students will meet with teammates and their coaches during HawkTime on enrichment days and may meet after school as well!

Meet the Coaches!

Questions? Feel free to reach out to Jan Killlian.

Meet the Books!

Read a description of each book below. Are videos more your style? Watch more about each book here or

download a list of the books here.

An Eagle in the Snow

by Michael Morpurgo

England, 1940. Barney’s home has been destroyed by bombing, and he and his mother are traveling to the countryside when German planes attack. Their train is forced to take shelter in a tunnel and there, in the darkness, a stranger ― a fellow passenger ― begins to tell them a story about two young soldiers who came face to face in the previous war. One British, one German. Both lived, but the British soldier was haunted by the encounter once he realized who the German was: the young Adolf Hitler. The British soldier made a moral decision. Was it the right one?

Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue

by Michael J. Tougias  and Casey Sherman

On the night of February 18, 1952, during one of the worst winter storms that New England has ever seen, two oil tankers just off the shore of Cape Cod were torn in half. With the storm in full force and waves up to 70 feet high, four coast guardsmen headed out to sea in a tiny lifeboat to come to the rescue. They were the only hope for the stranded sailors. Despite incredible obstacles, these brave men risked their lives, remembering the unofficial Coast Guard motto: You have to go out, but you do not have to come back. This is a fast-paced, uplifting story that puts young readers in the middle of the action. It's a gripping true tale of heroism and survival in the face of the elements.

The Forgetting

by Sharon Cameron

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories — of parents, children, love, life, and self — are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because she is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence — before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

Full Cicada Moon

by Marilyn Hilton

It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade — no matter how many times she’s told no.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi's perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing Calaveras — skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities — came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

The book includes an author’s note, bibliography, glossary, and index.

Ghost

by Jason Reynolds

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team — a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons — it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems — and running away from them — until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life.

Horizon

by Scott Westerfeld

When a plane crash-lands in the arctic, eight young survivors step from the wreckage expecting to see nothing but ice and snow. Instead they find themselves lost in a strange jungle with no way to get home and little hope of rescue.

Food is running out. Water is scarce. And the jungle is full of threats unlike anything the survivors have ever seen before — from razor-beaked shredder birds to carnivorous vines and much, much worse. With danger at every turn, these eight kids must learn to work together to survive. But cliques and rivalries threaten to tear them apart. And not everyone will make it out of the jungle alive.

Ink and Bone

by Rachel Caine

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly — but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13

by Tod Olson

April 13, 1970: Two hundred thousand miles from Earth and counting, an explosion rips through Jim Lovell's spacecraft. The crippled ship hurtles toward the moon at three times the speed of sound, losing power and leaking oxygen into space.

Lovell and his crew were two days from the dream of a lifetime — walking on the surface of moon. Now, they will count themselves lucky to set foot on Earth again.

From "Houston, we've had a problem" to the final tense moments at Mission Control, Lost in Outer Space takes readers on the unbelievable journey of Apollo 13 and inside the minds of its famous and heroic astronauts. Complete with photographs of the crew and diagrams of the spacecraft, this is an up-close-and-personal look at one of the most thrilling survival stories of all time.

The Nameless City

by Faith Erin Hicks

Every nation that invades the City gives it a new name. But before long, new invaders arrive and the City changes hands once again. The natives don't let themselves get caught up in the unending wars. To them, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders. Kaidu is one such outsider. He's a Dao born and bred--a member of the latest occupying nation. Rat is a native of the Nameless City. At first, she hates Kai for everything he stands for, but his love of his new home may be the one thing that can bring these two unlikely friends together. Let's hope so, because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands.

Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki―son of a giant―blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman ― difficult with his beard and huge appetite―to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir ― the most sagacious of gods ― is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Restart

by Gordon Korman

Chase's memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again… starting with his own name.

He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.

One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is — it's a question of who he was… and who he's going to be.

The Scourge

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Snow White: A Graphic Novel

by Matt Phelan

Award-winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan delivers a darkly stylized noir Snow White set against the backdrop of Depression-era Manhattan.

The scene: New York City. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar characters: a young girl, Samantha White, returning after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of the Follies, years earlier; her father, the King of Wall Street, who survives the stock market crash only to suffer a strange and sudden death; seven street urchins, brave protectors for a girl as pure as snow; and a mysterious stock ticker that holds the stepmother in its thrall, churning out ticker tape imprinted with the wicked words "Another…  More Beautiful… KILL." In a moody, cinematic new telling of a beloved fairy tale, extraordinary graphic novelist Matt Phelan captures the essence of classic film noir on the page — and draws a striking distinction between good and evil.

The Swap

by Megan Shull

With one random wish, Jack and Ellie are living life in each other’s shoes. He’s her. And she’s him. ELLIE assumed popular guys didn’t worry about body image, being perfect, or talking to girls, but acting like you’re cool with everything is tougher than it looks. JACK thought girls had it easy — no fights with bullies, no demanding dads, no power plays — but facing mean girls at sleepovers and getting grilled about your period is way harder than taking a hit to the face at sports practice.

Now they’re dealing with each other’s middle school dramas — locker room teasing, cliques, video game battles, bra shopping, and a slew of hilariously awkward moments — until they hopefully switch back! Told in both Jack’s and Ellie’s voices, The Swap offers a fresh and honest take on tween friendship, all while exploring more serious themes of family, loss, empathy, and what it really means to be yourself. And as Jon Scieszka says, it’s “seriously, truly, fearlessly funny!”

Ten Days a Madwoman

by Deborah Noyes

Young Nellie Bly had ambitious goals, especially for a woman at the end of the nineteenth century, when the few female journalists were relegated to writing columns about cleaning or fashion. But fresh off a train from Pittsburgh, Nellie knew she was destined for more and pulled a major journalistic stunt that skyrocketed her to fame: feigning insanity, being committed to the notorious asylum on Blackwell's Island, and writing a shocking exposé of the clinic’s horrific treatment of its patients.

Nellie Bly became a household name and raised awareness of political corruption, poverty, and abuses of human rights. Leading an uncommonly full life, Nellie circled the globe in a record seventy-two days and brought home a pet monkey before marrying an aged millionaire and running his company after his death.